Usually, when you get into a car crash, you will exchange insurance information with the other driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for any damages the accident caused.
If the driver runs away after hitting you, however, you may be wondering what you can do to cope with a totaled car and medical expenses. If you or a loved one was a pedestrian at the time of the accident in question, you might even be facing more serious injuries and/or losses.
In either situation, it may seem like you are left with the consequences of someone else’s negligence – and you are probably curious about your legal options.
At May, Rammell & Wells, we’d like to help you explore them.
Finding the Driver
After a hit-and-run accident, police officers will investigate your accident and help you file a report. If no one was injured in the collision, the case will usually remain open indefinitely. When someone is seriously hurt, however, law enforcement will make more of an effort to find the at-fault driver.
While leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, many drivers never get caught. Any information about the vehicle and driver that hit you can help police, and witnesses may be able to reveal key information, but you should still prepare for the possibility that the driver who hit you will never be identified.
Additionally, even if they are found, there’s a high chance that the at-fault driver will not have car insurance and may not even have a valid license and registration. A personal injury lawsuit against them is also unlikely to be lucrative, as many uninsured drivers do not have enough resources to carry insurance, much less compensate you for your injuries directly.
As such, your best course of action after a hit-and-run accident is turning to your insurance policy.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
According to Idaho Statutes Section 41-2502, all car insurance policies in the state require UIM coverage. To opt-out of this coverage, you must waive it in writing.
If you haven’t explicitly denied UIM coverage, chances are your policy will cover your hit and run accident. Further, your coverage should be equal to whatever liability coverage you chose when designing your policy.
Instead of filing a claim with the unknown driver’s insurance company, simply report your accident to your insurer and let the company know that you were involved in a hit and run collision. From there, your insurance adjuster should consider your claim and offer you a settlement.
Don’t ever accept the first offer!
Negotiating with Your Insurance Company
Just like any other business, your insurer is concerned with its bottom line. Even though you pay the company a monthly premium, your adjuster might try to undervalue your claim or short you on your coverage. Because a hit-and-run claim is less traditional, they may even attempt to deny your claim altogether.
Before you accept an offer, or if your claim has been denied, talk to our attorneys about your situation.
Our 70 years of combined experience can help you get a better settlement, and we can even file suit against your insurance company if they continue to mitigate or deny your coverage.
Discuss your case with us today at (208) 623-8021 or during a free consultation!